Solitude on the high plains ~

This afternoon I drove up to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, located about 15 miles north of Fort Collins and about 10 miles south of the Wyoming border. The last several miles are on a very well graded dirt-and-pea-gravel road. I went to the north parking lot, where there was only one other car, and walked a short trail to a site that overlooks a former archaeological dig, now restored to prairie. This is some of what I saw. I’m still working on an identification for a couple of the plants. I’m also a bit puzzled by the rocks atop the fenceposts—are they decorative, or do they have some sort of significance I can’t read?

The sense of remoteness and the solitude were gratifying, very different from the isolation of being at home. It was a beautiful, unusually cool day for August and it was windy; my ears actually got cold. I was fine in a T-shirt but began thinking longingly of earmuffs; what a strange sight that combination would make! A hat or scarf would have done the trick. I want to return to this area soon with my Olympus and my binoculars.

A patch of prairie ~

These photos were taken at the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, just south of Fort Collins, Colo. This acreage, which has never been plowed, is bounded by two major roads to the east and west and by housing developments to the east and north. It’s lovely country, but the traffic noise is omnipresent. When I had walked about 15 minutes, it began thundering persistently, so I backtracked to the parking area. I didn’t get photos of the many flowers still in bloom, many of them very small and easy to overlook.

Winter clouds ~

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This photo puts me in mind of summer, but it actually shows a rare sunny January sky in Southern Illinois in 2013. In going through closets I found an old Canon point-and-shoot and discovered I hadn’t downloaded the images on the SD card. This was one of them. (Interestingly, in my list of tags for this blog, “Clouds” is followed by “Coffee,” which is followed by “Coincidence.” How perfect is that? If this reference is opaque to you, check out Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain.”)

Front range ~

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Northern Boulder County

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Arapahoe Ski Basin at sunset

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Loveland Pass at sunset

Recently I realized that I’ve been negligent about posting photographs of the Colorado landscape since I moved to Loveland. Here are three recent ones. The first was taken with my iPhone; the other two, with my new Olympus.

Palette 4/4/2016 ~

This is a copy of “Stormy Day,” the Isaac Levitan painting that I posted to my Facebook page recently. I applied a watercolor filter to the second palette crop. Actually, I think this palette is for another painting I’m working on that I’ll probably paint over. Whoops!

In searching for a photo of the Levitan painting, I came across many other paintings of his that I admire. See this site for a rich sampling of his work, especially “Shadows, Moonlit Night,” “Vladimirka Road,” and “Footpath in a Forest, Ferns.” The latter seems especially remarkable as a sort of Impressionism/Realism hybrid. Wow! Plaudits to I Require Art’s Facebook page for bringing to our attention the work of little-known artists such as Levitan, as well as lesser-known works by widely known artists such as van Gogh..